I find it very interesting if you read media coverage of the Rosie-Elisabeth spat, and if you read Internet blogs. Nobody is neutral on the spat; they either fall into the Rosie camp or the Elisabeth camp. I generally fall into the Elisabeth camp, for a couple of reasons:
1. Rosie doesn't fight fair. Rosie uses distorted facts to support her arguments, and not every discerning listener is able to pick out the exaggerations. The distorted facts give her arguments falsely earned momentum, like jumping offsides gives a defensive lineman an advantage to the QB, and has to be penalized.
2. My super condensed oversimplified Cliffs Notes version of their latest, famous argument is:
Rosie: You didn't defend me when a journalist asked you if I thought our troops were terrorists, and I thought that was cowardly. You know I don't think our troops are terrorists.If I'm the judge of this trial, I side with Elisabeth's position. Why should Elisabeth have to go around defending Rosie's blog posts, especially when that blog post questions "who are the terrorists?"
Elisabeth: A journalist asked me to explain your philosophical position based on something you wrote on your blog, and I said I don't really know what she was thinking, why don't you ask Rosie.
3. I'm far more sympathetic to Elisabeth, because:
a. she's hot. I really don't know how much this plays into my sympathy vote for her, but to deny that I think she's hot is dishonest. I'd much rather watch her talk on tv than watch Rosie.
b. she's happy. As you mentioned in The End Zone, Elisabeth radiates happiness. Ten years ago, when Rosie hosted her "Mike Douglas-like" show, Rosie also radiated happiness. Somehow she has evolved over the last ten years into someone who is too frequently angry, abrasive, and political.
c. Elisabeth is at a huge disadvantage on that panel. I do not believe that Elisabeth is stupid, as she has been too easily dismissed by many Internet writers. I do believe that she was not hired to be a political commentator, she was hired to be one of the four chicks on a women's coffee talk show. It just so happens that she is the only conservative viewpoint, and the political discussions on the show are You Tubed the world over because they are so deliciously catty. To make matters worse, she finds herself in debates with Rosie and Joy. Rosie and Joy spent years honing their talking skills in front of an audience doing stand up comedy. They are quick thinking, funny, concise, and good with a sound byte. Nothing about Elisabeth's education or experience prepared her to play at the level of Rosie or Joy in a political/comedic dialogue. It is not her strength, but she is called upon to do it frequently.
d. Rosie has home field advantage. The crowd at the The View is definitively liberal, and waits to cheer for every dramatic liberal statement made by Rosie, Joy, or a guest host. This is the same phenonmenon as Bill Maher's "Real Time" show or Jon Stewart's "Daily Show". If you are a conservative, you've got to be nuts to go into those lion's dens. It's like the Michigan Wolverines going into Columbus to play Ohio State. When I watch You Tube clips of the View spats, I find myself cheering for Elisabeth much like I cheer for an underdog in a big sports game, because it's damn hard enough for her to win the debate against 2 or 3 co-panelists, but then that poor hot chick has got to take on the 100 audience members also?!?
These points lead to another thought about liberal vs conservative debates in the media. I know that there are many smart, articulate people who are Democrats. There are many smart, articulate people who are Republicans. But why does it always seem to me that the Republicans who end up on tv are the ones who don't articulate their thoughts very well? Elisabeth is one example. Or, they are cartoonish figures like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reilly. Or maybe the only ones who will take a gig on a show like "Real Time" or "The Daily Show" are the ones on the fringe who are trying to advance their careers. Even Michelle Malkin; I know she is a revered conservative blogger and media watchdog, and she is very effective in that medium. However, there are a couple of time I've seen her on tv, and I've thought "wow, I kinda agree with what she's saying, but she really didn't say it very well".
This leads to my final, wild-ass really out there thought. Making an argument to support a liberal position is more easily suited to a quick sound byte, or a thought process that only goes shallow into the issue. It's easier to package on tv, and may be a pleasing thought initially, but it doesn't always consider the long term repercussions. A conversation to support a liberal position may go:
A: What should we do about health care?
B: Let the government solve it.
A: What about the homeless?
B: The government.
A: What about inflation?
B: The government.
A: Social Security?
B. The government.
Quick, easy, simple answers. Relatively painless solution, because surely the government has the resources. It's analagous to a conversation with an 8 year old that goes like this:
Child: What are we going to do this morning?
Parent: Play video games.
Parent: Watch tv.
Parent: Go to a movie.
Child: What will we eat and drink?
Parent: Popcorn, cookies, ice cream and root beer.
This is a dream day for an 8 year old, but they don't have the foresight to understand how that kind of day impacts their physical fitness, health, mental stimulation/education, etc. They just know it sounds like fun. A conservative, on the other hand, may have a political thought analogous to a conversation with an 8 year old like this:
Child: What are we going to do this morning?
Parent: Play outside, to get some exercise and fresh air.
Parent: Some housecleaning chores.
Parent: Cook dinner.
Child: What will we eat?
Parent: Some fresh things we'll pick up from the farmer's market.
Child: Aww, darn it. I want to play video games and watch tv.
Parent: You may not understand it now, but the things we are doing today are better for you in the long run.
The conservative position does not sound like it is as much fun to an 8 year old. It is not immediate gratification. It sounds a little bit like work and sacrifice. However, any one who is mature enough and smart enough to reason through these issues can see that the conservative day is far more productive and beneficial than the liberal day, it is just a much harder sell.
I'm done. Good night.
Greg's Notes: Valentine to Elisabeth
This TV Guide biography of the former Elisabeth Filarski is amusingly relevant
This former shoe designer entered the entertainment biz through the reality backdoor — she was America's sweetheart when she competed on the second season of Survivor....
- An avid runner who has completed the Boston Marathon.
- Has Celiac Sprue disease.
- Once listed her favorite smell as "breakfast smells."
- A favorite food: Cashews.
- Walked-on to Boston College's softball team as a semi talented freshman, making the team only b/c she was fast, and could pinch run. Doggedly improved herself until she became, in her senior year, a starter and a Captain.